Questions tagged [science-based]

For questions that require answers based on hard science, not magic or pseudo-science, but do not require scientific citations. Contrast with the hard-science and reality-check tags. Do not use this tag as the only tag on a question because it describes how the question should be answered, not the topic.

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How to Cause a Hydrosphere Apocalypse III: Erosion and a Shallow Sea

This is a bit of an addendum to a previous question, shown here. (How to Cause a Hydrosphere Apocalypse Part II The Great Flood). I like the rain of ice from a dying moon, answer and I have decided to ...
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4 votes
3 answers
245 views

How much energy it would be required to propel a projectile with sound? Would it be lethal to its user?

Context: in a scenario where batteries suddenly became extremely energy dense due to some events between the main characters, I was thinking about which electromagnetic weapons I could use, such as ...
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3 votes
1 answer
122 views

Does Catalyzing Quantum Tunneling Break the Universe?

Say that someone develops a technology that enables you to catalyze/accelerate quantum tunneling within the device, with the purpose of making the kind of quantum tunneling that enables hydrogen ...
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20 votes
5 answers
4k views

99.9% of the flight-capable birds died at once. How screwed is the rest of the world?

When a massive handwavium accident happened on Earth, 99.9% of all flight-capable birds worldwide, instead of dealing with it, answered with "Nope, gone to heaven." Basically, they died ...
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5 votes
3 answers
162 views

A species of humanoids can see perfectly well under both sunlight and starlight. What's their eye morphology like?

Assume a species of humanoids that can see under both starlight (no sun, no moon, clear skies) and sunlight as well as humans during the day. Let's assume the light levels are roughly the same as here ...
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  • 12.3k
3 votes
3 answers
90 views

Would tall arboreal humanoids make good swimmers?

These are tall, sapient great apes that primarily live in trees, but come down for occasional food or things that catch their interest on the ground. By tall, I mean 6-7 feet on average, but because ...
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4 votes
2 answers
203 views

What year would technology be advanced enough to spot advanced aliens a dozen light years away from us

I'm planning to write a story and I was wondering if it would be possible to find aliens of interplanetary levels of technology at most a dozen light years away. I know that the first exoplanet was ...
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3 votes
1 answer
81 views

Depth of seas on a Banks Orbital

If one is building a Banks Orbital or other megastructure with a very large habitable surface area, it is not necessarily given that much of the area would consist of seas, but there are several ...
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1 vote
3 answers
108 views

Could the Deutsche Kaiserreich create a U-Boat with the following capabitities for the WWI if some timetraveler give them the blueprints?

Is possible to design a submarine that follows the following restrictions? It must have at least the capabilities of a early „the war to end all wars“ U-Boat (e.g. SM U-19). It must build-able with ...
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8 votes
4 answers
615 views

What kind of horseshoes work best on a molten lead track?

There is a horse race happening in Hell. Hell is very rocky and prone to earthquakes, so the best place for the racetrack is on a river of molten lead. This makes for a flat course with obvious ...
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0 votes
1 answer
119 views

Can a Relativistic Kill Vehicle be a single particle?

To those that don't know what an RKV is: a projectile (could be a spaceship, could be a bullet) that moves with a significant fraction of lightspeed. Maybe even close to lightspeed. Anything it hits ...
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7 votes
7 answers
925 views

What observable traits set the MilkyWay apart from other Galaxies?

In a short story, Earth's humanity goes extinct due to a plague and a few thousands years later a space faring race plants a new seed of humans in attempt to restore what civilization used to be. The ...
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7 votes
3 answers
249 views

Reactionless Drive WITHOUT Breaking the Universe?

Space is hard, and making a spaceship engine powerful enough to do interesting things requires an absolutely bonkers amount of energy. I know that lots of authors (including me) think of trying to ...
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4 votes
1 answer
156 views

Does my world map make sense scientifically?

I'm currently working on a world map. This will be used for various things. I'm trying to get it realistic looking and I want it to make sense scientifically. It doesn't have to be 100% perfect, just ...
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6 votes
7 answers
423 views

What would a modern fortified castle look like?

Assume that paramilitary siege weapons were proliferated to the general public after America fell. Details below, but basically short of multi-billion dollar tactical weapons such as advanced fighter ...
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4 votes
4 answers
217 views

Can one half of a planet be desolate, while the other half is lush vegetation?

Is it possible for half a planet to be cold, dark and lifeless while the other is a lush jungle? Can a planet be tidally locked to a sun where the jungle surface is always facing the light, and the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
65 views

Minimum set of specialities to cover most medical needs

I'm writing a fictional story and there is an eccentric billionaire who has his own personal staff of medical personnel. What would be some specialities to consider to include in this group. He is a ~...
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3 votes
2 answers
171 views

How could I make an ion engine work within an atmosphere?

I’m trying to think of a way to explain how the ion engines in Star Wars ships are able to work within an atmosphere. Ion engines can only work in a vacuum, and don’t have the proper thrust to take ...
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0 votes
1 answer
73 views

Can this mind control parasite work? [closed]

I want to create a hard science parasite, this parasite consists of a symbiosis of a slime mold and neurons, it enters the host and branches by attaching to the organism. Could my organism control a ...
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1 vote
2 answers
162 views

How do we breed cats that can talk?

Are you fed up with never being sure precisely what your furry companion is pestering you for? Using selective breeding techniques & (initially at least) ignoring any changes to brain structures ...
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3 votes
2 answers
117 views

Is a universal land and launch spacecraft theoretically possible?

Nearly every science fiction story features a craft which lands on a planet, allows egress to the surface, and then leaves the planet. Logistics is almost never a part of the story. In considering ...
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23 votes
6 answers
3k views

Elves with Guns: how do they avoid blowing their ears out on the battlefield?

Let us assume, for the moment, that we have an army of (Tolkienesque) elves to equip, and only modern small arms to equip them with. However, elves have hearing that is rather more sensitive than ...
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3 votes
4 answers
115 views

A scientifically plausible explanation for an "explosion of shark evolution"

It's virtually a platitude among scientific studies that sharks have changed little over their 400 million year+ evolutionary heritage. On the one hand, sizes span from tiny varieties to leviathans ...
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2 votes
2 answers
136 views

Would an O'Neill Colony in earth orbit need to rotate around an axis parallel to the Earth to keep people from feeling major weight changes?

I calculated that if an O'Neill cylinder were allowed to rotate around an axis that pointed away from Earth (or anywhere in a plane that is perpendicular to Earth) that the variation in experienced ...
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4 votes
2 answers
161 views

Could manipulating the strength of the nuclear force disintegrate materials?

In my world, magic works by warping the fundamental forces of the universe. Some people can heat metal and create lightning with the electromagnetic force. Others can steer and amplify gravity to ...
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3 votes
1 answer
88 views

What would realistic racing hovercraft look like in terms of aerodynamics?

This is a follow up to a previous question of mine: How do I keep my futuristic racing hovercraft from becoming airplanes? I'm in planning stages for a futuristic racing game and I'm trying to figure ...
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8 votes
1 answer
149 views

Respecting the square cube law, what are the material properties of the structural parts of a massive dragon?

Most "realistic dragon" questions start with the premise, "given what we know about bones, muscles, and the square cube law, how close can we get to a fantasy dragon". This is a ...
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5 votes
5 answers
309 views

Getting around in Hell when you can't fly?

As a follow-on to my physical Hell planet I am having a great deal of trouble deciding which sort of locomotion people would use when they are not in airships or on the train. People need to get ...
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7 votes
2 answers
85 views

Realistic Intake Food Required To Maintain Healing Factor

So, to start out with. I've got a character with an alien biology and has an accelerated healing factor. Nowhere near the likes of Wolverine, or Deadpool but better than a regular Humans and allows ...
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4 votes
2 answers
151 views

When a human gets petrified what happens to the blood?

The science team had the good idea of hitting Sharon with a petrification device. Good old Medusa. The device sends microparticles into the body inserting foreign RNA into each cell. These carry the ...
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6 votes
2 answers
103 views

How would a massive permanent updraft affect a rainforest?

This world has these massive tunnels in which large quantities of heat and air travel from one point to another, being permanently pushed by magic. Their exits are basically massive updrafts coming ...
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3 votes
4 answers
120 views

Why does a significant portion of the radio spectrum now have unworkable levels of noise?

I want to solve the age-old (decades-old) question of how to bork or severely restrict wireless (radio, WiFi, satellite, cell phones, etc.) communication (semaphore is allowed, I guess, but it's not ...
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4 votes
1 answer
56 views

Day/night cycle and tracking celestial positions in S-type binary star system

I know this has been asked before but I'm going to pose the question again under slightly different circumstances and with a more specific goal. I'm trying to work out the details of how the day/night ...
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4 votes
3 answers
145 views

Simulation theory experimental proof

A lone researcher elegantly solves an unsolved physics problem with a brilliant proof and proposal for a reasonably inexpensive experiment to go along with it--however this proof only works if it's ...
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0 votes
4 answers
119 views

What would be the best approach to raise newborn humans in a generation ship without computers or previous humans? [closed]

So, in this scenario, humans just proven that the light-speed limit is absolute. In other words, you can't travel faster than light, even with warp drives or worm-holes. To get things worse, even with ...
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  • 579
6 votes
6 answers
1k views

What would happen if a person's entire body mass was capable of working as a brain? [closed]

One of my characters in a super hero setting can have their body turn into slime. By quirk of their power, they are able to process thoughts with their entire body, effectively turning their entire ...
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2 votes
3 answers
84 views

An earthlike world is flooded with fantasy flora and fauna. What happens to the ecosystem, and how long does it take to recover? [closed]

Let's assume for the sake of argument that: It's a 50/50ish split between new prey/predators herbivores/carnivores being introduced. So already a bit imbalanced. The creatures/flora make sense ...
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9 votes
3 answers
290 views

How tall can trees get if water transport limitations are bypassed?

The setting is Earth, millions of years in our future. In this setting a species of tree has made an evolutionary leap, allowing it to bypass the water transport constraints currently thought to be ...
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  • 4,005
8 votes
2 answers
238 views

How dangerous would a vertical water surface be?

In my setting, there is an area that is usually filled with water at high tide and a land bridge at low tide. One day, a magical wall appeared that does not let water through, but does let through ...
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19 votes
10 answers
6k views

What would the main ingredient of a cheap food for the masses be?

We have to feed the masses and we have to do it cheaply. Enters the goo Our scientist are still debating what the main ingredient(s) of this thick paste should be. Can you help them? The target ...
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  • 3,063
4 votes
1 answer
87 views

Geologic explanation for green volcanic eruptions

It's well-documented that copper sulfate can be introduced to certain fuels to burn green. If one was to scale up the fireworks, so to speak, then I'm not so sure how to explain the mechanics of it ...
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7 votes
2 answers
800 views

Negative mass and Dark matter in Alcubierre Drive?

I am writing a science fiction novel therefore I am using the idea of the Alcubierre drive for warp travel which involves some handwavium but has roots in theoretical physics (which is my goal). While ...
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4 votes
3 answers
149 views

How to maintain large ships in hostile atmosphere?

The simplest effective method for maintaining large flying vessels is needed My society is a pirate haven which has low technology and resources. They have jury-rigged some system to keep the fleet ...
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  • 5,894
4 votes
1 answer
141 views

Alien war machines to non-lethally neutralize and disarm human combatants

In Designing a railgun to disable man-portable firearms, I asked about the specifics of the way that I had imagined for alien war-bots to disarm humans... but I was convinced by the accepted answer ...
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6 votes
10 answers
1k views

Specific type of invisible ink

I know so called ''invisible ink'' exists in the real world. The most common types can be revealed either by applying heat to the paper it is written on (lightbulb, clothes iron, candle, lighter, etc.)...
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7 votes
8 answers
2k views

Designing a railgun to disable man-portable firearms

I'm trying to design a railgun to meet a very particular purpose: to destroy (i.e. render inoperable) modern man-portable firearms, such as pistols, rifles and grenade launchers, from a Glock pistol ...
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  • 45.4k
9 votes
6 answers
2k views

Could a creature breathe carbon monoxide?

In real life nothing breathes carbon monoxide, but it still binds to the things that are supposed to carry oxygen around the body to my understanding. Could a form of life be able to actually use ...
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  • 2,864
2 votes
3 answers
149 views

On Ocean Planets and their traits [closed]

I am working on an ocean planet, and I am wondering what conditions would be expected of a planet whose surface is entirely water. Or more accurately, how accurate is my exact idea. My current idea is ...
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  • 734
7 votes
1 answer
88 views

Expected limits of adapting wings for burrowing

My world has a variety of creatures which evolved from arthropod-like ancestors and became more similar to vertebrates in many aspects despite still having exoskeletons. One of these creatures, as I ...
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  • 11.9k
5 votes
3 answers
120 views

Would an extra-terrestrial human settlement rely on their endogenous or environmental rhythmic cycles to set their routines?

Setting: We have settled a planet with days and years not even approximately like earth. The settlers must decide what their workday is and their week, year, etc. Premise: Colonists will establish ...
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